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SA Partridge

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Itch review of Fuse

Thank you so much to BookSA’s Karina Brink who wrote this thoughtful review of Fuse for Itch, the online creative writing magazine. It’s an awesome and very humbling carrot.

After the success of her debut youth novel, The Goblet Club, the young South African writer S.A. Partridge returns with Fuse, another exciting exponent of the genre. It tells the story of Justin Mullins and his adoptive brother, Kendall. While Justin is popular at school, knows how to stand up for himself, and has much going for him, Kendall is shy, introverted, and simply ‘different’. Worst of all, Kendall is cruelly bullied by his peers who do not tolerate too much individuality. He stands out because of his long hair, dark clothes, piercings, and preference for heavy-metal music. We know the type – we all knew somebody like him at school and I am sure, sadly, most of us would not have been kinder. Justin likes his brother and tries to help, but he is more preoccupied with his own nemesis, the boys’ abusive father. While their mother haplessly watches on, the two brothers have to find ways of coping with their father’s frustration and relentless anger.

Kendall’s world briefly – and unfortunately, literally – lights up when he meets the newcomer at his school, Craig Baumgartner. The two seem to have a lot in common and become friends. Together, as the only outsiders, they face the bullying of the others until one day Craig hatches a dangerous plan, with the intention of getting even with the kids who taunted them, no matter what. Eventually, Kendall has to make a tough choice between the loyalty to his new-found friend and his conscience.

When Craig’s plans go haywire and he is arrested, assigning blame for his wrongdoings to Kendall, Justin comes to his brother’s rescue and the two youngsters escape the relative safety of their home to face the hazards of living on the run. With their parents and the police in pursuit, the boys find themselves in some daunting situations. What keeps them going is their trust in each other: Justin’s in Kendall’s innocence which he will go to any extremes to protect, and Kendall’s trust in his brother’s ingenuity which helps them survive the worst ordeals.

Set in Cape Town and Pretoria, the novel craftily captures the atmosphere of living in the streets of the two cities. It is a gritty reality and Partridge does not spare her two characters. Homeless and hungry most of the time, they encounter the rough underbelly of society and have to get their hands dirty in order to make it through each and every day.

Read the full review here.


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    September 25th, 2009 @14:49 #

    Does both you and Karina credit, Sally, well done! A very good "taster".


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